You always had a look of wanting,
a weightlessness in your eyes that was overlooked over and over
and over again. Like boxes weaved of feathers,
with shyness saying, “Open me, if you would. Please.”
You had a gift of translucence, being without being.
For me you have become more circular.
Weeks will pass when I meet others with your name,
your eyes I won’t recall. But when I see the water,
A dream, I picture the sand and headland,
white frothing waves,
my lungs filling of you.
I’d will the rocks beneath me to split if I believed I’d find you lying there,
an embarrassed giggle and a timid touch for my hand
as I’d pull you from out the crevasse.
I’d speak to you as I would a fawn and tell you
to take your bike and ride on home.
Before the lighthouse I have this thought that you were hopeful.
That you lined your school notebooks
with poems and sketches of love to come,
the ticking of the classroom clock like war drum to your ears,
and the taste of victory and recognition close to tongue,
someday to be more than a daydream.
But you only existed in the dark places, in the black
of the pulsing strobe lights at Halloween dances.
Did you dance in the dark?
A secret opera you played when the eyes died out?
You’d only bend your legs and let loose your arms
when you thought no one be there to see.
Purple fairy wings strapped to your back,
your knee-high stockings and glittered covering from head-to-toe.
You went in and out like rapid moon phases
is not a word you utilized.
As fleeting as your presence was it juts out in my mind.
The year, date, colors, sounds and my own body
are excluded from this memory.
But I remember you.
A sudden flash that I wish was clearer.
Forgive me, for only wishing.
Sometimes when I stand in blackness I feel your arms turning,
roaring like turbines.
A phone call floats in this void;
your voice has somehow become lost
in the repetitive reminiscence of my parents bedroom.
It’s jarring to my psyche
that I once held the number that may have led me to your hidden door.
That ring of coffee stain around your picture,
the gaunt of your face hollow in the dog-eared corner of the newspaper.
Your hair was frizzy and unchanged
that sleepy expression.
All your subtle blinding worlds looming within them.
I said to you and my mother that I didn’t know you.
Your face was suddenly unrecognizable. So thinned and crushed
since the noondays of rose cheeks and kitten hair.
In the black and white photograph you seemed so sunken.
Some burnt-out girl is what surfaces to describe
the contours of that faded printed recollection.
My honesty is regretful. I prod my heart with this truth.
Prod it deeply to puncture and spill forth insides and bits unrelinquished.
Once again you were passed over, and gone.
There was no special moment or feeling when you had left.
I had no sense of foreboding when I answered the call on the telephone,
my friend’s tone casual and splashed
in an odd detachment on the other end of the line. The classic,
“Did you hear?” ascending through the speaker.
Your name held heavy significance now
You splattered onto my spherical timeline like paint colors gone array,
running down the walls scrawling hidden codes and messages.
In a second you became a wonderland of unrealities.
Only minutes later the fall from that iridescent tower
would turn to impact,
facedown on my bedcovers.
with my insides,
I felt your fears and cries before the jump as if I knew.
I now wonder why you chose the lighthouse;
this vision of you peddling down the snaking
northland road fast in the late afternoon.
Your chapped mouth open, panting with intent.
Tears being wiped away by the wind, numb hands upon the handlebars.
They found your bicycle lying on the ground at Wisconsin Point.
I’m sure some believe it was an accident.
Slipped upon the craggy rocks and claimed by Lake Superior,
they’ll say to themselves.
To deem it so I feel would be an insult to your fairy memory.
Why do you skip like a child in my mind?
—Castles in the Sky
for some reason
I believe you resided there when all the world fell down.
It’s as if you were made of magic and stardust, that none knew,
for you never spoke of it.
Yet, perhaps you did speak of it. Yes, now I feel certain you did.
Why you gave yourself to the lake it doesn‘t care.
It took you with grace
and swallowed you with wrath
and spit you back upon the rocks to hang you as though an art piece.
You were a treasure worth displaying.
Perhaps you have more meaning in death than you do in life but please,
understand I did not write this,
cry these tears in memory of your life, nor in honor of your death.
This is wildfire in the making.
I create only to destroy.
Do you hear the drums of the final battle resounding?
This is your rebirth.